Hebrew University researchers develop method to improve neutraceutical absorption

Two researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Casali Institute of Applied Chemistry, Prof. Nissim Garti and his associate Dr. Abraham Aserin, are among the recipients this year of the university's Kaye Innovation Awards for their development of "nanovehicles" to improve the delivery of nutraceuticals and cosmetoceuticals into the body's blood stream and tissues.

Garti explained that nutraceuticals and cosmetoceuticals are natural materials, mainly derived from plants, which have health benefits. Many of them are not soluble in water and/or oils and therefore are difficult for the body to absorb.

Nutraceuticals today are often taken in capsule form or as food additives in the hope that the nutraceutical will be a beneficial diet additive. However, the effect of this is generally marginal, even though there may be some advantage over normal consumption through a balanced diet. However, most of these nutraceuticals are not absorbed but are simply flushed through the body's digestive system. The same is true of the cosmetoceuticals, such as face creams, which also are not efficiently absorbed.

The nanovehicles which Garti and Aserin have developed are microemulsions made out of water, oil, an emulsifier and sometimes alcohol as a cosolvent. The microemulsions, or nanoemulsions as Garti prefers to call them, are more stable than regular emulsions and can absorb a significantly higher amount of the active beneficial material from plant sources than a regular emulsion. Nanodroplets of the microemulsion bind with nanoparticles of the nutraceutical or cosmetoceutical. The nanodroplets carry the nutraceutical nanoparticals through membranes and release them upon reaching their destination.

The microemulsions are highly dilutable and also can be turned into powders. As a result, they can be used as liquid or powder food additives or taken on their own.

Each microemulsion must be specifically designed to suit the nutraceutica

Contact: Jerry Barach
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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